But the main reason oil prices are increasing is because of the instability in Syria and throughout the Middle East. Instability among OPEC nations brings about instability in gas prices here at home. International sanctions preventing Syria from selling it’s oil has reduced its output to 50,000 barrels per day making its impact on the global trade market insignificant. What is significant is the geo-political impact.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the threat of a proxy war between the Saudi Arabian-lead Sunni rebels and the Iranian-backed Assad regime pits two Persian Gulf super powers against one another creating even more uncertainty in the region and among global energy markets.
What happens if military actions commence is anyone’s guess.


I’ve long advocated for ending our dependence on OPEC oil because of situations we’re seeing today in the Middle East. Energy, whether we like it or not, is the lifeblood of our economy. In the U.S. it powers our factories and helps us move our commerce throughout the country and around the world.
With our oil and natural gas plays here in North America, the U.S. has an option to become energy independent. These opportunities are game changers. But the Obama administration will not act on projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
Secretary Kerry along with President Obama would rather stall these job-creating projects that make us more secure at home in favor of limiting competition which gives the mob-like OPEC regime unfettered access to the U.S. market for their energy. I simply don’t see Kerry’s rationale for not approving the Keystone XL pipeline and continuing to make the U.S. beholden to OPEC countries that don’t have our best interest in mind and only want us as customers.
The only conclusion one can draw is it’s political. The State Department, under Kerry, is placating its environmental base by stalling approval of this critical infrastructure project.  We’re only helping oil-producing nations that don’t like us while thumbing our nose at our nation’s number one trading partner.
Lack of leadership from this administration is making Americans foreign policy pawns in a chess game that threatens our countries ability to provide the right environment and encourage new manufacturing job growth – something the president has said is one of his top economic priorities.
Kerry can deem the Keystone XL Pipeline in the national interest and begin issuing the permits to build the pipeline or he can continue with the status quo that makes us dependent on the mood of unstable dictators like Bashar al-Assad.  But we have to pick a side.
The Keystone XL pipeline changes the foreign policy game in the world. A United States that was once dependent on foreign sources for oil would be able to do business with a country north of the border and with whom we share mutual interests. Why we would chose to continue to be beholden to OPEC countries is beyond my comprehension.
Next month, we will reach the five-year mark since the original permits were filed to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.  If the price instability of oil and the bombs falling in the Middle East can’t convince Kerry that approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is in our national interest, then we should question his judgment and this administration’s commitment to job creation here at home.

Terry has represented Nebraska's 2nd Congresional District since 1999. He sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.